The Way I See It, the mistake was agreeing to make the trip.After spending two delightful days with our dear friends in Mifflintown, who at our age decided to purchase an Airedale puppy, we reiterated that we were done with pets. We were enjoying our freedom. There was no need to run home and exercise a pooch. No veterinarian fees, no license, no neutering, and no cleaning up the yard of doggie do. We were perfectly happy to sit around and look at one another without arguing who was going to take the dog out.

Those proverbial words would last approximately six hours upon arriving home. In checking the answering machine there was a message from one of my parent's neighbors who said there was a six-month old Boston Terrier pup available for adoption. She knew my wife grew up with Boston Terriers and we would be ideal owners for this waif.

Kathy and I had left Mifflintown around lunch as we had tickets to a Barnstomer's game that evening. We called the party who was fostering the dog and they suggested we visit with them on our way to the game. We accepted their invitation. Big mistake. On the drive into Lancaster we discussed all the reasons why we didn't want a dog. The reasons were overwhelmingly against taking on this new responsibility. No way. We are only being courteous. I even prayed the dog would nip my ankle, hide under the sofa, bark unceasingly or pee on the floor. None of which occurred. Instead this adorable 14-pounds of energy, licked my face, rolled over to allow me to rub her belly, never barked and held her water. Kathy was simply stricken by her demeanor and attachment. We left wavering, but said we'd think it over and call in the morning. Suddenly those overwhelming reasons began to crumble. "She is so cute and affectionate," said my wife. "I think perhaps we're the answer to her prayers," said I. Not that the folks that housed her weren't wonderful caretakers. They were. But they had their own pets, limited yard space and neighbors much closer than we.

We awoke Saturday morning and Kathy informed me that she was going to call and say thanks, but no thanks. I had just put down the morning paper that featured a story on a dog and said, "are you sure"? One hour later we were in possession of the little black and white terrier named, Moxie, originally Roxie.

To this day she remains a loving and affectionate pet. House broken to a point, which is a work in progress, she is a bundle of energy and loves us to pieces. Our only concern is that Moxie has decided she wants to sleep in bed with the other residents of the dwelling and this is a challenge. I have no problem, Kathy on the other hand - or side of the bed - is not happy with the situation. Moxie is not content with the foot of the bed. No. Her preference is up close and personal, about six inches away from your lips. Much easier to apply that goodnight kiss, which she does liberally. We have caged her on several nights and this may be the order of business until she gets the message. Dr. Mary Kirk has examined her and stated we are so lucky to have a Boston Terrier possessing the personality traits Moxie displays. Dr. Kirk informed us she was probably the product of a "puppy mill" and has some hereditary issues that will require her to be neutered; an operation Kathy and I both agreed was necessary prior to possession. Otherwise she is a healthy puppy with a tremendous disposition.

There are some life style adjustments and unplanned expenses, but there is something about owning a pet that brings out the best in us. Since losing Shelby, a Black Labrador, of whom I wrote about several years ago, there has been a void in our lives. I think we both feel more safe and secure with another member in the household, all 14-pounds of ferocious pup, which has barked twice since we've owned her. Our children, their spouses and the grandchildren adore her. I don't relish going through the grief we experienced in the passing of Shelby. But we're at the age where perhaps Moxie will be the one to grieve before we. Should that occur someone is going to receive one active and affectionate bundle of joy. I would have been okay had I not made the trip; but in the end I'm glad we did. Thank you Wanda.

BASEBALL

When your top four bats in the lineup strikeout six of the 14 times - 43-percent - with Chase Utley and Ryan Howard credited with three each, you're not going to win many games. In addition, that same foursome left seven runners stranded, one of them Eric Bruntlett, who doubled twice and scored not once. The guy who I feel should have retired two years ago gives you seven innings of two-hit ball on the mound and the Phillies can't manage more that a single tally against a starter entering with a 4.15 ERA. Are you kidding me? Somewhere I read that this is the year the Mets reverse the end result of last season and the Phillies collapse. If the game I'm referring to is any indication. You can bet on it. Thursday, July 24, was a disappointing game, all the way around. J. C. Romero, who many have more faith in than I do, surrenders two earned runs and the Phils head home to face the Braves with a disgruntled shortstop and no one in the starting lineup hitting above.290. Forget Utley as the MVP. That distinction could well go to the finger-waving Jose Reyes, who is becoming the poster player for the Mets.

I dislike writing this, but here we go again. World Series? The Phillies will be fortunate to win a wildcard spot. Incidentally before this went to print the Phils did manage to take two from the Braves and now head to DC to face the woeful Nationals. They better win two of three or the die is cast.

Have a great week.

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